UNITED NATIONS, The United Nations Security Council has imposed an arms embargo on South Sudan after approving a United States-drafted resolution which expresses deep concern at the failures of the country’s leaders to bring an end to hostilities there.

An earlier resolution adopted in May threatened an arms embargo and target sanctions if the UN reported by June 30 that fighting had not ended.

In a letter to the Council on June 29, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said there had been credible reports of fighting and continued serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.

Nine countries voted in favour of the resolution but the other six Council members abstained, including permanent members Russia and China, calling the move unproductive to the peace process, but declining to deploy their vetoes.

The adoption of the resolution means all UN member states must immediately prevent the direct or indirect supply of sale of weapons, ammunition, military vehicles and other equipment to South Sudan until May 31, 2019.

US Permanent Representative Nikki Haley said: For too long, the Security Council has failed these people. We failed to impose an arms embargo years ago, when we could have helped prevent so much suffering. We have failed to stop the fighting. We have failed to hold South Sudan’s leaders accountable for the misery they have caused. But today, we can and we must defy this history.

Ethiopia, which currently chairs the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an eight-nation Horn of Africa bloc, objected strongly to the embargo through its Permanent Representative to the UN, Takeda Alemu.

While in no way opposed to punitive measures, it is a view of the AU (African Union) and IGAD that now is not the appropriate time for taking such measures. The IGAD Council of Ministers has made it clear that pursuing such a course of action at this stage is note helpful at all,” he added.

This is a matter of judgment taking into account the complexities of the situation. The same view is also reflected by the AU Peace and Security Council.

He said the resolution did not reflect the spirit and principles that should underpin the relationship between the UN and the African Union.

What is equally troubling is that this proposed course of action does not meet the consensus of members of this council. A divided Council on this issue, we all know, will not be helpful to the peace process because it will send the wrong message to the parties, the result of which will be loss of the Council’s credibility and thus leverage � that is what we have been trying to avoid but to no avail.

The resolution further imposes sanctions on two leading military officials in the country.

Britain said the resolution was not about the peace process but about protecting the people of South Sudan.

Sweden’s Permanent Representative, Olof Skoog who also serves as the Council’s president in July agreed.

I think everyone is clear that the region’s efforts are really important and they’re making some progress but there’s also reports of continued violations of some ceasefires and some very extremely horrendous things happening on the ground so the Council is likely to adopt a resolution this morning that will impose an arms embargo.

Some Council members tried but failed to impose a similar arms embargo in December 2016, failing to get the required nine minimum votes in favour.

A peace deal reached by the warring parties of South Sudan in August of 2015 and several subsequent ceasefires and security agreements have failed to quell the conflict.

The peace process was further complicated this week with South Sudan’s parliament voting to extend the tenure of President Salva Kiir by three years with the opposition under Riek Machar reportedly rejecting the move.

Source: Nam News Network